Carlo Sini, exhibition catalogue "La pazienza dell'ombra", Bagnacavallo Museum 2011.
Once upon a time reality existed. Or maybe only the superstition of its existence. In any case, as one says, reality was there. Now we are no longer so certain, actually we are not certain at all, and artists, as always happens, are the first ones to realize it. They are so used to move in that world of make-believe and shadows, to consider it more real than the real one. And so they celebrate the shadow, its patient perseverance and as Manganelli says, the loyalty to the double it embodies. Loyal to what, then? According to Enrico Lombardi, whom I believe to be, in his extraordinary works of art, the most careful and highest investigator of the shadow, this loyalty repeats not a presence, but quoting him directly, an atopical parting. Shadows allude to non-places, exactly like the chora Plato talked about in his Timaeu. And again according to Lombardi, its loyalty sets an uneasiness, questions any certainty of the visible. So, let’s watch them, watch these shadows which, in Lombardi’s paintings, act as silent protagonists. To a more careful inspection, something which at first glance might easily be overlooked and almost disguised, becomes clear, that is the fact that many of these shadows come from somewhere beyond the image we are not allowed to see, but only silently imply, suggesting however the impression of a tangible elsewhere of “reality”. An effect even firmer because intertwined with shadows, which define with extreme clarity, neatness and at close range, the presence in the painting of precisely defined “objects”: scrawny trees, thin towers, steep houses rooftops and likewise. Nothing could look more realistic and at the same time fantastic. And like that the shadow plays its supposed loyalty in two ways, from the one hand making the appearing reality look like a sort of daydream, or quoting the artist himself, the apparition of an unlikely place, and on the other hand by being the witness of an hypothetical reality beyond the painting which in its double states its ultimate and final loss.A long farewell, Lombardi says, where beauty has lost its eyelids: only a still vision, a frozen presence, the liquid reflection of a night faint light with no eyelid flickering interval, is left. Stiffened eye of a wild vision. Even the pied reality of the origin of the shadow has been translated in the emptiness of a chromatic collapse, made possible by the wise parsimony of “poisoned colours”. What was the reality or we believed to be as such, has been poisoned. Only the testimony of a death has been left to us. And since art, actually because art (contrary to what is widely believed) has necessarily and essentially to do with what’s true, it has to represent such a collapse and not hide it. Lombardi’s mode, however, is not only that of the direct testimony of the catastrophe, but the image re-builds on the catastrophe, finds a new form, it celebrates the reflection of a beauty, the possibility of a place, the necessity of a future cosmology born from chaos, from its mysterious region or chora. In short Lombardi’s images do not deny the possibility of a new relationship, void of superstitions and violence, between the reality and its shadow. Surely, a place which, still and mute of its human inhabitants, waits. In fact there are no humans in Lombardi’s images, there cannot be. It is first necessary to do a witchcraft to the image (isn’t this what art is about after all?) and create a new “liturgy” by learning a new ritual. And then the shadow will no longer appear like a ghost but the liveliness of the light reflection. Meanwhile waiting, which gets stronger and reassuring, is necessary. And exactly the endless patience of the shadow. Lombardi, year after year, has learnt it and uncompromisingly repeats it. Patience loyalty, waiting loyalty, truth loyalty, firm with no easy tricks, useless compromises because the shadow, in all honesty, it is something tremendously serious, which cannot be deceived, which no-one can deceive. Paraphrasing Wittgenstein we could say: no-one can express, with words or figures, not even a fraction more than the shadow one is.
Carlo Sini (traslation by Angela Lombardi)